Careers and Depression
The bag and baggage
To choose a career, to pursue a career, to change a career, or to end a career—they often come with the bag and baggage of the signs and symptoms of depression, such as fear, regret, disappointment, and among others.
A case in point
A Chinese couple in
America have a son who wants to pursue a career in the
entertainment industry. Their son in his early thirties decided to go to to learn the
Chinese language as a prerequisite of his career pursuit. His parents have
opposed to the idea of living in Beijing ,
or rather pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. Beijing
The different perspectives
From the parents’ perspectives: a really successful career in the entertainment industry is few and far between, especially if it is not pursued at a much younger age.
From the son’s perspectives: money, glamour, and quick recognition often come with success in a career in the entertainment industry.
The ultimate truths
A be-all-and-end-all career based on only one variable, which is money, may not turn out that way.
Any glamorous career is always competitive, but it does not mean it is unachievable at any age. Have an empty mind that everything is doable and achievable irrespective of the age.
Recognition should not be the only primary reason for pursuing any career; rather, passion should be the driving force behind.
Easy success in any human endeavor hurts ultimately, especially a career in the long term, because it does not expand an individual’s capacity and capability to deal with problems when they get tough, or to have the persistence to go through them when things do not turn out as expected. Hard-earned success, on the other hand, may prepare an individual for more success in the future through persistence and perseverance.
There is no right or wrong in the choice or pursuit of your career; after all, it is your career, and others may be looking at your career from their own perspectives.
Follow your passion, not people or what they say. Success comes from hard work, and not from wishful thinking. Spend your internal energy pursuing what you want, not defending or explaining why you want it; the latter has to do with your ego. Always ask yourself many self-intuitive questions about why and how you want to pursue your career goals.
According to TAO, choosing a career is like digging a well. Did you choose the right spot? Have you dug deep enough? If nothing happens according to your expectation, then self-doubt, reinforced by fear and uncertainty, may make you go for another spot. Going for another spot and yet another one may only bring you further frustration and more disappointment.
The bottom line: carefully choose your career, apply persistent effort, and you will find your initial investment of time and effort rewarding. Even if you choose to move on after a while, you will still find it very worthwhile because you have learned something from it Just remember that giving up is not an admission of defeat or disappointment; rather, giving up is letting go of any resistance when dealing with the chaos of life, and redirecting your energy to a higher purpose.
“The Way to the Creator is deep-rooted.
Unmoved, it becomes the source of all movement.
Stable, it enables us to act without rashness.
“So, whatever we do, we do not abandon our true nature.
The world around us is riddled with worries and distractions.
We remain stable, steady, and steadfast.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 26)
Do not abandon your true nature: be stable, steady, and steadfast.
Career advancement involves many new challenges and increasing responsibilities. If this is what you want, it may provide you with satisfaction and motivation to move on with your current career.
On the other hand, if career advancement is not right for you, then you may consider lateral move within your organization, that is, changing your daily duties but without increasing your responsibilities.
Wanting or not wanting your career advancement is your choice. According to TAO, your choice should not be based on control or power.
“Likewise, our greatness comes
not from our power or control,
but from our own true nature,
which is living as one with the Creator.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 34)
During career advancement, your procrastination may sometimes become an obstacle, causing frustration. Lao Tzu said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
“Great accomplishments are only
a combination of small steps.
Difficult tasks are no more than
a series of easy steps.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 63)
So, begin your first step, and one step at a time, but do not overstep yourself.
“Striving to climb the ladder of success,
we may seem smart.
But trusting our Creator,
we find divine guidance,
which is effortless along the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 28)
Climbing a career ladder successfully is never easy and smooth: involvement with argument and aggression is often inevitable. Ambition often comes with an aggressive and domineering personality, often leading to coercion and imposition.
According to TAO, do what you have to do, but without “over-doing” it, which essentially means acting without attachments or expectations, but with effortless efficiency. While climbing your career ladder, neither push someone over nor use any inappropriate means to remove any obstacle that may stand in your way. Career success stems from your contentment, and not your resentment
“Resentment breeds more resentment.
Only contentment leads to contentment.
True contentment comes from our true nature:
not from what we do, or how we do;
neither from our status nor our control.
The Creator is impartial.
No one is special.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 79)
In your career advancement, you may find the urge to argue to prove that you are right
“The wise learn to succumb, instead of arguing.”
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 81)
Arguing with your co-workers or just anyone else can never bring any worthwhile benefits. When you feel the urge to argue a point with someone, take a deep breath, bite your tongue, and remind yourself that any combat is due to your own ego.
Countering any aggression with aggression is just like fighting fire with fire. According to TAO, when confronted with aggression, neither fight back nor back down; instead be gentle but firm. The objective is not to humiliate the aggressor but to transform the harm into harmony, and the aggression into peace.
“So, we advance
not at the expense of overstepping anyone.
So, we gain
not at the expense of making anyone lose.
So, we accomplish
not at the expense of straining ourselves.
We have no enemy.
We love everyone as ourselves.
We remain in our true nature;
otherwise, we lose
the three essentials of the Way,
and become our own enemy.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 69)
On the other hand, if you find that you have assumed an aggressive and domineering personality during your career advancement, do remind yourself the wisdom of not expanding your ego at the expense of others, because career success, like anything else, can never sustain itself over the long haul. The reality is that nothing lasts, not even a very successful career.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau